Quest to honour every fallen Rotherham soldier

Published Wednesday, 27th June 2018
Quest to honour every fallen Rotherham soldier
Armed Forces Day 2018

A Rotherham fundraiser with a love of history has embarked on an ambitious project to uncover the history of every fallen soldier in the borough.

Sally Moffett, from Rawmarsh, is part way through a project to discover the stories behind every soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Sally hopes to be able to identify their names, ages, places of death and regimental badges, and those details will be placed on individual wooden crosses which will go on display at the Cenotaph in Clifton Park.

And Sally is hoping people in Rotherham will get behind the project by helping piece together some of the stories of the 4,800 names she is currently researching. She is also hoping people will help fund the cost of the crosses by making a donation to The British Legion.

“I was selling poppies in Morrison’s last year when a man started telling me about his father who had been killed during the Second World War just three days before he was born,” said Sally.

“He told me his name was on the cenotaph and that got me thinking about trying to gather as much information as I could about all the names on there.

“Then I thought it would be wonderful for every soldier in the borough to be properly recognised and remembered?”

The scale of the project is so large that Sally will first focus on those fallen during World War One and hopes to do the same for those killed in World War Two next year.

Sally will have a stall at Rotherham Market at Saturday’s Armed Forces Day where she will have crosses for sale and stories from the First Word War to share.

She explained she has been working on the project with her son Anthony, and they began by trying to piece together the stories of the 1,270 names on the Rotherham Cenotaph.

“I then thought I should have a look at the names on other cenotaphs and memorials across Rotherham which totals more than 4,800 names,” said Sally.

“We’ve identified and got full details for about 94 per cent of the names, but we would love people to get in touch and give information about the ones we don’t know much about.

“I’ll be telling people at Armed Forces Day all about the project and encouraging them to sponsor a cross for a pound or two. All the money I raise will go to the Poppy Appeal.”

Sally also attends the ‘Knit and Natter’ sessions in Rotherham Market where a knitted poppy cascade is currently in progress, and she would encourage anyone who wants to find out more about the project to drop in and see her on Tuesdays between 1.30pm and 3pm.

Cllr Ian Jones, Rotherham Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said Sally’s project was going to be ‘invaluable’ in helping document the borough’s military history.

“To be able to say we will be able to know as much as we possibly can about every name on every memorial across Rotherham is absolutely incredible,” he said.

“This is an amazing project and I’m looking forward to seeing hundreds of crosses on display later this year.”

Anyone who wants to find out more about the project or who wants to help Sally with information about individual fallen heroes should contact her on 07396 065637.

A free evening concert in the Minster will bring this year’s Rotherham Armed Forces Day celebrations to close.

The concert which starts at 7pm will include music from the Band of the Royal Armoured Corps, the Thurnscoe Harmonic Male Voice Choir and the Rock Choir. Admission to the concert is free, with programmes for the event costing £5.